An automatic garage door utilizes numerous components, including motors, cables, and rollers. Yet few components play as central a role as the springs. Garage door springs provide the majority of the force used to raise and lower the door. Some systems use an overhead torsion spring, while others use extension springs mounted vertically on either side of the door.
Over time, a garage door spring experiences a lot of stress. Eventually the metal becomes so fatigued that it breaks. Unfortunately, many homeowners lack the knowledge necessary to diagnose this problem. This article seeks to improve your garage door troubleshooting skills by examining four clear signs that you may have a broken spring.
1. Door Only Opens a Few Inches
One of the most commonly encountered garage problems involves a door that only opens a few inches before stopping. A wide range of ailments may lie at the heart of this problem, including burned-out motors, blocked photo eyes, snapped cables, physical obstructions, or rollers that have become dislodged from their tracks.
In addition, this issue may stem from a broken spring, which no longer stores the force necessary to open your garage door all the way. To isolate whether a bad spring is at fault, pull the red manual release cord dangling from the top of the garage door track. Now try to open the door by hand.
If the door lifts readily, your problem likely lies with the garage door opener's motor. If, on the other hand, your door still won't budge, a broken spring may be at fault. Contact a professional to come take a look at the problem as soon as possible.
2. Sudden Loud Sound
As mentioned above, garage door springs remain under constant tension — even when your door rests in the closed position. Over time, the metal spring weakens as the result of this tension. When the spring eventually gives out and breaks, it usually causes a loud sound — anything from a sharp crack to a ringing bang to a muffled thump.
Extension springs present a serious danger when they break, often flying across your garage from the sudden release of force. Torsion springs, on the other hand, wrap around a horizontal metal bar. This bar ensures that the pieces of the spring remain in place in the event that the spring breaks. When either type of spring breaks, it produces a sound you often hear from inside your house.
3. Shaky or Jerky Movement
Most garage doors with torsion springs contain just a single spring, mounted horizontally at the top of the door frame. Virtually all extension spring systems, by contrast, contain two springs, one on each side of the door. When a torsion spring breaks, your door will likely not open at all — or will only open a few inches.
When one extension spring breaks, your door may continue to work, since the spring on the other side remains intact. Yet you will almost certainly notice that your door has a hard time moving up and down smoothly. Instead, the unbalanced load causes the door to jerk or shake as it moves.
4. Loose or Sagging Cables
All automatic garage door systems utilize cables to pull the door upward. These cables attach to the bottom of the door, threading upward through a series of pulleys to attach at their other end to the spring. In a correctly working system, the spring keeps the cable under constant tension. Yet when a spring breaks, the cable will visibly sag or hang loose.
Sometimes cables come loose even without a broken spring. If you have noticed that one or more of your door's cables lack tension, contact Tulsa's garage door professionals at Pro Overhead Door.